Review: Pretty Monsters

Pretty Monsters
Pretty Monsters by Andrea Speed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first Andrea Speed story I’ve read and it makes me want to start on her backlist immediately. The story is only a few pages, barely enough to grab your attention but it does. The premise is pretty simple and it’s one I’ve seen before but that doesn’t mitigate the cute and fun details the author included. It’s a nice little story that whets your appetite but it’s not long enough or meaty enough *cough* to satisfy just yet.

The story begins with the protagonist, Josh, at an all night Quik-Mart. What makes this particular late night spot special is that it has a dimension opening to hell and thus attracts all kinds of monsters. In this opening vignette, we see a lizard, zombie, and a vampire. Basically Josh is the only human in a sea of monsters and quite frankly, he likes it that way. Especially when his hot guy turns into a pretty monster, something he didn’t think was possible.

Since the story is so short it feels more like the first chapter of a book than the first book in a series. Clearly this will be a series of short stories but I wonder if that will be satisfying enough. There is so much potential and possibility to the world, even if it’s a familiar one, that I’m not sure a series of very short stories can really adequately dive into that world building or satisfy on a romantic/erotic level. I’m very curious to see where the series goes from here. The main character, his love interest, and the bare bones of the concept are all introduced while adding a few laughs so this short is fun to read above all.

The writing is humorous, delightful, and just a touch steamy. There’s an obvious affection for the narrator, a somewhat hapless regular guy that can’t even flirt affectively. Coupled with the nice monster touches and inherent humor in the situation, the quickie is easy and fun to read. It obviously has more questions than answers joining the non-existent characterization so it’s not a perfect story out of the box. Perhaps in the larger context of the series, it’ll work better but for now it’s a nice introduction that leaves me wanting to read more.

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5 thoughts on “Review: Pretty Monsters

  1. Tam says:

    I did enjoy it but I’m getting a bit frustrated with the concept of feeding me one chapter at a time. It’s not even a case of a full-blown adventure time after time, at least this wasn’t, just “they meet”. The end. At .99 each, if there are 10 chapters totalling 100 pages, that’s a pretty expensive novella.

    I don’t know the plans for this series but I also need them pretty regularly. Nothing worse than getting sucked in and then waiting 3 months for the next 10-15 pages of a story. So while I liked the concept and characters, I’m reserving judgement on the structure. 🙂

    • I actually asked Rachel H about that if the various “series” were really chapters and she said absolutely not. Now having read this, it’s definitely a chapter of a fuller story and not a stand alone short so I agree with you that this is not exactly a structure I’d like to support. Each chapter for $1 is not really economical and I agree, a few months between chapters? I don’t really think so.

      I like this short but I think the way it’s being sold is a little shady.

  2. Actually, it wasn’t written as a chapter – it was a “pilot”, if you will, the first in a series. They’re meant to be stand alone stories set in the same universe. I believe the second is longer, and the third longer still. See, when I wrote it, I had no idea if Rachel would be interested in it or not. It was a stand alone short, and the fact that I had no idea if it would ever see the light of day may have been responsible for its length.

    • I see, except I don’t really. This does not read to me at all like a stand alone. The ending is left hanging, obviously to be followed up with a sequel that directly relates. Otherwise the real questions start to be asked – why is the book called #1 if each is a stand alone? Why is there such scant world building within the story if it’s a stand alone? Will these characters ever be seen again if each story stands on its own? If they are in additional stories then they don’t really stand alone. I respect that you say this is a “pilot” in the series but it doesn’t read like a series now after what you’ve said nor does it read like a wholly complete independent story. So I’m really confused what this is.

      It sounds like the series isn’t fully written nor fully thought out. You make it sound like it’s a throw away concept that you tried to see if it worked. That’s not to say I’m against it, even if it’s a very familiar idea used already, but I don’t know exactly what this is and therefore I’m not entirely sure how much it works for me. There is some forgiveness in a series that’s already planned and numbered. You can trust the author to answer the questions, plot holes, and character issues within the context of the larger series. But that doesn’t seem to be happening here if each is supposed to be a stand alone story, which honestly I’ll be a broken record but this doesn’t read as a stand alone at all to me. Not in the marketing, the blurb, the title, or the short itself.

      I guess if anything I’m even more confused.

      • Well, stand alones that can also be read as a serial fiction. If that makes sense? Although, admittedly, as I build up the mythology they’ll be less stand alone. But I’d like to think you could read number two or number three without having read number one and still enjoy the story. Mileage may vary.

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